I look at him, stomping around the house, being angry about whatever there is to be angry about today. Three minutes later, I watch him slip over to the sofa and sit as close to me as humanly possible without getting back in my womb. He nuzzles his head under my arm and I can feel him relax.
Things are changing.
Fourth grade is hard. Being almost ten is hard.
He’s not a teen, but he’s certainly not a baby anymore.
It’s a purgatory area, those tween years, of being immaturely mature and learning to move through life in a bigger way.
In the mornings, we fuss. He’d rather lay around and be lazy now than jump out of bed like he used to do. I can see the differences in the way he sleeps, the way he looks when he’s trying to wake up, and the way he almost needs coffee to get going in the morning.
Growing up isn’t easy.
His features are darkening. I can see the future in his eyes. The next few years will hold changes in his hormones and desires and voice… he won’t be my baby anymore. He’s already not my baby.
He and I wear the same size shoe. He’s not much shorter than I am. I get fussed at if I have to help him wash his wild and crazy hair in the shower because, “You can’t see me naked, Mom.”
These changes are inevitable.
This morning, after fussing to get up-get dressed-brush your teeth-why aren’t your teeth brushed?-get your socks and shoes on-let’s go-I said let’s go-come ON, I drove him to the path he takes to the school. I pulled over to the side of the road. Reaching over to open the door, he looked back at me.
“I hope you have a great day, bud.”
“Ok, mom. You, too.”
“I’ll see you this afternoon.”
He glanced quickly out the window, making sure nobody is looking, leaned in and kissed me on the cheek.
“I love you, Mom.”
“I love you, too, buddy.”
I’m aware that these days are numbered. The tales of my fourth grade tween are going to be tough – new and different. School, life, body changes, mood swings… they’re all things we’ll take day by day.
And if those days include a sly kiss on the cheek and a back rub to help him go to sleep at night, then I’ll take it.